A tattooist’s reputation can be as long lasting as the ink they use. Not everyone can just hang a shingle out and expect customers to come running. It’s important to prepare carefully so you can make their trip worth it.
Follow OSHA Compliance
Tattooing has OSHA regulations just like any other field. (OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.) Sterilization is particularly critical because tattoo instruments come in contact with clients’ skin and, potentially, their blood as well. Gloves, markers, and stencils must be single-use only. Thoroughly scrub non-disposable implements with hot water and sterilize them in an autoclave.
Get a Gauge on Pricing
It could be difficult to attract business if your parlor is pricey. Look up what the average tattoo goes for in your potential neighborhood. Then assess the skill of your staff. Younger and less experienced artists should charge less for their work. Whole and half sleeves are naturally going to cost more because of the time investment. The same principle applies to color versus black and white tattoos. Tattoo placement also influences price. Although each client obviously has different pain tolerances, ankles, elbows, and the back of the knees tend to be extremely sensitive tattoo areas. A good artist takes this into consideration and sets their prices accordingly.
Cover the Parlor With Insurance
Look into tattoo shop insurance coverage options. Good policies include liability coverage and protection against theft and abuse. Liability should also extend to any guest artists you’re hosting. Coverage shouldn’t end at the storefront. It needs to follow you to trade shows as well.
What’s the Culture Like?
There are several cities that boast the “most tattooed” status. Austin, Miami, and Portland are on this list. Larger cities like Los Angeles and New York also have their own tattoo culture. If your parlor is in a smaller region you have a greater chance of making your own design trend instead of following an existing one. Are people sporting geometric or abstract pieces? How are they using color? Good client relationships respect all of these choices. It’s also a great way to boost referrals if you understand what the locals are looking for.
Above all you should make your tattoo parlor inviting. Curate a playlist or have the music set to a specific radio station. Put up posters. The furniture should be comfortable (especially the tattooing benches). Practical steps only go so far. It’s the vibe that really gets people in the door.